Judge warns against "game playing" and cost budgets/Precedent R
For proceedings issued on or after 6 April 2016, the parties are encouraged to use Precedent R (Budget Discussion Report), when preparing their cost budgets. In this case, Coulson J noted that some parties deliberately put very low figures in their Precedent R in order to encourage the court to calculate its own amount, at a point in between the wildly different sets of figures put forward by both sides (and thus reducing the figure put forward by the other side).
This case was an example of that tactic: the defendant's budget was "on any view, an unrealistically low budget". For example, the claimant estimated that disclosure would cost just below £30,000 (which the judge held was reasonable), whereas the defendant estimated just over £10,000, which was said to be unjustifiability low.
Coulson J described the defendant's Precedent R as an abuse of the cost budgeting process and of no utility. Accordingly, the judge disregarded it (and the budget was agreed by the claimant). The claimant's cost budget was held to be proportionate and reasonable, and so was allowed.